Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

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Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby Mojo » Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:43 pm

I already have Breathe! You Are Alive by Thich Nhat Hanh. Would I be better served to buy someone else's interpretation of the Anapanasati Sutta?

Thank you.

Mojo
Last edited by Mojo on Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good translation?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:53 pm

From what I've read, his writings on anapanasati are more "interpretation" than "translation." Helpful stuff, but it definitely lacks the nuance of a more scholarly approach.


This is a strictly line-by-line, word-by-word examination of the sutta by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good translation?

Postby Aloka » Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:55 pm

Hi mojo,

There's the sutta itself:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.118.than.html

There's an Anapanasati pdf book by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu:

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/anapanasati.pdf

An article about Anapanasati by Ajahn Sumedho:

http://www.buddhanet.net/nowknow2.htm

with kind wishes

Aloka
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good translation?

Postby Mojo » Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:43 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:From what I've read, his writings on anapanasati are more "interpretation" than "translation." Helpful stuff, but it definitely lacks the nuance of a more scholarly approach.


Thank you for helping me to clarify my question. I edited the topic to reflect interpretation instead of translation.

I'm no scholar and would not know the nuances of Pali to discern what certain expressions really mean in a literal translation.

I suppose I just really want to make sure that I have an easy to follow guide to practicing Anapanasati that I can practice and be confident that I'm actually practicing Anapanasati and not some other form of meditation.

Namaste
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby Mojo » Mon Mar 04, 2013 6:21 pm

I should like to note that I'm going start sitting with a Thich Nhat Hanh group on this week. They are the only group around that doesn't burn incense - incense I'd a deal breaker for me. I suppose I'm a tad bit apprehensive of following ESL instructions.
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good translation?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:52 pm

Mojo wrote:I suppose I just really want to make sure that I have an easy to follow guide to practicing Anapanasati that I can practice and be confident that I'm actually practicing Anapanasati and not some other form of meditation.

Namaste

It depends on what you mean by "anapanasati." If you mean general meditation where you follow your breath with mindfulness, then I'm sure TNH will be fine.

However, "capital-A" Anapanasati can refer to the specific set of sixteen steps the Buddha laid out in the eponymous sutta. I don't know if TNH will be accurately representing those specifically.

Why is incense a problem for you?
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby Mojo » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:17 pm

It bothers my breathing and I've seen reports stating it is as dangerous as second hand cigarette smoke.
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:47 pm

Mojo wrote:It bothers my breathing and I've seen reports stating it is as dangerous as second hand cigarette smoke.

I have trouble with incense too, it's probably best to avoid it.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby danieLion » Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:10 pm

That's the question that propelled me to start studying the suttas, and I'd say no, it's not a good interpretation.

In addition to being in the Anapanasati Sutta, all four of the aforementioned core instructional tetrads can also be found in the following canonical discourses:

-the "Greater Exhortation to Rahula Discourse" (Maha-Rahulovada Sutta, MN 62);[http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.062.than.html]
-sixteen discourses of the Samyutta Nikaya's (SN) chapter 54 (Anapana-samyutta): SN 54.1, SN 54.3–SN 54.16, SN 54.20;[http://www.accesstoinsight.org /tipitaka/sn/sn54/sn54.006.than.html; http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... than.html; http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html]
-the "To Girimananda Discourse" (Girimananda Sutta, AN 10.60); and,[http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an10/an10.060.piya.html] the Khuddaka Nikaya's Patisambhidamagga's section on the breath, Anapanakatha.

The first tetrad identified above (relating to bodily mindfulness) can also be found in the following discourses:

-the "Great Mindfulness Arousing Discourse" (Mahasatipatthana Sutta, DN 22)[http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.22.0.than.htm] and, similarly, the "Mindfulness Arousing Discourse" (Satipatthana Sutta, MN 10),[http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.010.nysa.html] in the section on Body Contemplation; and,
-the "Mindfulness concerning the Body Discourse" (Kayagatasati Sutta, MN 119) as the first type of body-centered meditation described.[http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.119.than.html]
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:30 pm

if I remember the Book propperly his has the only english rendering of the Chinese Agama versions that are freely & readily available in English, so it has some worth from that perspective. But I have never really liked the lovey dovey approach or the realigning of sanghadisesa rules that his community has done so.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:20 am

Mojo wrote:I should like to note that I'm going start sitting with a Thich Nhat Hanh group on this week.


I'd be interested to hear how you get on, and if there is any meditation instruction. I was involved in an Interbeing Sangha for a number of years.
Well, oi dunno...
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby Mojo » Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:48 am

I'm leaning toward getting Larry Rosenberg's Breath by Breath.
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby lojong1 » Tue Mar 05, 2013 7:09 pm

porpoise wrote:I'd be interested to hear how you get on, and if there is any meditation instruction. I was involved in an Interbeing Sangha for a number of years.

I sit with interbeings once in a while here as the only group sit on that night. Bell rings and we sit 20mins, walk 10mins, sit 20 mins, and then about an hour of reading or chants or whatever thingy for the week, finishing with a tea circle. There hasn't been any sitting instructions but we are free to ask. Walkng is super slow with attention mostly on foot sensations and matching step to breath.
I enjoy the company but wouldn't want it to be my only source for buddha-dhamma-vinaya.
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Tue Mar 05, 2013 7:34 pm

Mojo wrote:I'm leaning toward getting Larry Rosenberg's Breath by Breath.

Larry Rosenberg was influenced heavily by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu. You may find his introduction to Anapanasati, which I consider to be one of the best ever written, helpful:

http://what-buddha-taught.net/Books3/Bh ... athing.htm
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby Aloka » Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:53 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote: . You may find his introduction to Anapanasati, which I consider to be one of the best ever written, helpful:

http://what-buddha-taught.net/Books3/Bh ... athing.htm




I also gave a link to the Buddhadasa pdf booklet #3.

_/\_
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby Mojo » Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:22 pm

Thanks for the recommendations. For those familiar with both Buddhadasa and Rosenberg, what are the main differences in their presentations of Anapanasati? I should also note that I'm not particularly interested in whether I attain jhana or not.
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:28 pm

Mojo wrote:Thanks for the recommendations. For those familiar with both Buddhadasa and Rosenberg, what are the main differences in their presentations of Anapanasati? I should also note that I'm not particularly interested in whether I attain jhana or not.

Generally, Rosenberg is a little less structured in his practice; whereas Buddhadasa instructs one to go through all sixteen steps, one by one, during each session, Rosenberg is more free-form. This might be better for an introduction, but I think Buddhadasa is one who really captures the essence of "capital-A" Anapanasati practice instead of just general breath meditation. Otherwise, I think Buddhadasa has a little more concrete, practical advice versus the somewhat more "spiritual" or vague instructions Rosenberg can give. Both are good teachers, but I would definitely go with Buddhadasa if you're looking for the more comprehensive and all-in-one guide.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby danieLion » Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:54 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:...go with Buddhadasa if you're looking for the more comprehensive and all-in-one guide.
I agree. I also found it helpful to combine it with Ajahn Lee's Keeping the Breathe In Mind and Thanissaro's guided meditations online and his written instructions from various of his writings. His latest book is a anapanasati manual and basically a compilation of all he'd done before, so there's no need to mine his works like I did.
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby beeblebrox » Wed Mar 06, 2013 11:57 am

Hi everyone,

Just so that there isn't any confusion... the book includes a translation, with some interpretation, basically to keep it from being dry. It's complete with the 16 exercises. There's also a commentary by Nhat Hanh.

Generally, the lay people who I practice with don't do this exclusively. It's more like a foundation. There's also guided meditation, that they do sometimes. They do walking meditation, and they also do a sharing at the end... where they usually would just talk about what's been going on with life, and how they apply their practice.

That's it pretty much. There are different types of people practicing together. I think that it's nice.

:anjali:
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:23 pm

lojong1 wrote:
porpoise wrote:I'd be interested to hear how you get on, and if there is any meditation instruction. I was involved in an Interbeing Sangha for a number of years.

I sit with interbeings once in a while here as the only group sit on that night. Bell rings and we sit 20mins, walk 10mins, sit 20 mins, and then about an hour of reading or chants or whatever thingy for the week, finishing with a tea circle. There hasn't been any sitting instructions but we are free to ask. Walkng is super slow with attention mostly on foot sensations and matching step to breath.
I enjoy the company but wouldn't want it to be my only source for buddha-dhamma-vinaya.


I led mindfulness days from time to time, usually it would be a sit-walk-sit in the morning, lunch in silence and then sharing etc in the afternoon. I don't recall any formal instruction in meditation, I think the idea was that people learned meditation on retreat.
Well, oi dunno...
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